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Old Nov 27, 2009, 8:30 AM   #1
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Default Canon 50D or T1i package

I'm new to the DSLR world. I used to have a Canon AE-1. The three lenses I used were a 50mm, 135mm, and 100-300. The 50mm was a great indoor lens and the 100-300 met all my outdoor vacation needs. I'm primarily looking to purchase this camera to take portrait pictures of our baby. For secondary use, I will use on vacations and take pictures of our kids sporting events. I think the 50D 28-135 kit lens can meet most of my secondary needs (however, there were times the 100-300 was a nice zoom in the past, but I didn't need 300mm for most of my vacation needs). I know the 18-55 kit lens will not be enough for my vacation use. My initial thought was to purchase the T1i kit for everyday use, purchasing later a 50mm f/1.8 lens for portraits, and even later a 70-300 IS USM to compliment the kit lens. Since my immediate purpose is portrait, do you think I would benefit from purchasing the 50mm now? My total budget I'm looking to spend is under $1500 (camera and lenses). Here is what I'm looking at right now.
Option 1, The 50D kit $1100 comes with Canon 28-135 lens IS USM +$90 50 mm = $1190
Option 2, The T1i kit $611 comes with 18-55 lens + $90 50mm + $500 70-300 = $1201.
Option 3, T1i body $577 + $302 28-135 IS USM + $90 50 mm =$969.
I'm open to other suggestions, but I would prefer not to waste money by purchasing something I will not use later. With my end goals, what would you purchase?
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Old Nov 27, 2009, 9:28 AM   #2
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I think you should remember that the AE-1 had a larger exposure area than the dSLRs you're talking about. In fact the 35mm film exposure (24mm x 36mm) is 1.6 times larger than the image sensors in the 50D and T1i (and all the other entry-level and mid-level Canon dSLRs.) That means the focal lengths you have experience with on your AE-1 have a narrower angle of view than they would on the dSLRs you're considering. On a 50D or T1i, a 50mm lens had the same angle of view that you would have gotten with an 80mm lens, your 135mm lens would be equivalent to a 216mm lens, and your 100-300 would be like a 160-480mm lens on your AE-1.

To get the same effect on either dSLR that you got on your AE-1, you'd need 31mm, 84mm, and 65-188mm lenses. While the Canon 50/1.8 would be a good lens for taking photos of your baby (35mm equivalent focal length of 80mm), what you know about focal lengths needs to be filtered through the smaller image sensor. In order to get with a dSLR what you got with your AE-1, the Canon 70-200mm f/4L USM will do fine. In fact, it will do better.
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Last edited by TCav; Nov 27, 2009 at 9:30 AM.
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Old Nov 27, 2009, 6:23 PM   #3
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TCAL, you already taught me I need to read up some more before purchasing a zoom lens. Thanks for explaining the APS-C 35 mm equivalent. By the way, I purchased the T1i with the 18-55 lens - the price was too good on sale to let it pass up. I feel better about the max 200 mm now reading about it. One of the other reasons I first picked the 70-300 lens is the IS capability. Getting the IS on the 70-200 is too expensive for me (almost my entire budget). In my old film camera, I would occasionally have issues with blurring (shaking). I was hoping the IS would prevent this. I rarely bring a tripod when traveling and enjoy using hand held most of the other times as well. I found a website that listed users rankings of lenses and it looks like more people prefer the 70-200 non IS over the 70-300 IS. Can you help me understand the advantages of the 70-200 f/4 USM over the 70-300 IS USM?
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Old Nov 27, 2009, 7:19 PM   #4
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First, let me say that the Canon 55-250 IS is a good, reasonably priced lens, that you might want to consider since Canon has a rebate program going on right now. I don't know the details, but there are other posts here that have them.

Second, it wasn't clear from your initial post that IS was important to you, so I didn't consider it as a criteria. I suggested the 70-200/4 instead of the 70-300 because it more closely matched the range of the zoom lens you had with your AE-1 (taking into account the crop factor) and because it also has a larger maximum aperture.

The following are test reports from SLRGear.com for the lenses I mentioned here:

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

The 55-250 IS doesn't have USM, and it vignettes more wide open than the others, but in all other respects it's a fair match for the others, and it costs a lot less (especially with the rebate.)
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